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7 Days Autumn Hokkaido

#41 User is offline   Kingfisher 

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Posted 20 November 2014 - 01:20 PM

We descended the flight of stairs to the lakeside while Aki-san went to the Shikotsu Sightseeing Boat Rest House (支笏湖観光船レストハウス) to buy the tickets for the lake cruise; it could only mean more opportunity for photo takings. Vee was bombarded with requests to help take photos, which she did with a smile.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1651-LakeShikotsu.jpg

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1652-LakeShikotsu.jpg

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1653-RestHouse.jpg

The Shikotsu Lake Ferries (支笏湖観光船)
066-0281 Chitose, Hokkaido Kohan
Tel: 0123-25-2031
Operating Months: Mid-April to early November
Operating Hours: 8:40am – 1710pm (subject to change)
Ticketing: Adult - ¥1,200, Elementary / Primary school student - ¥600

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1654-RestHouse.jpg

Japanese Rowan (Sorbus commixta) is a species of flowering plant in the family Rosaceae, native to Japan, Sakhalin (in the Russian Far East), and the Korean island of Ulleungdo. In late spring it bears small white flowers in 6” clusters which are followed by showy masses of brilliant red berries in fall. And they are a favourite food for wildlife.


http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1655-JapaneseRowan.jpg

This post has been edited by Kingfisher: 03 December 2014 - 02:09 PM

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#42 User is offline   Kingfisher 

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Posted 20 November 2014 - 01:50 PM

Lake Shikotsu has an average depth of 265m and a maximum depth of 363m, making it the second deepest lake in Japan, after Lake Tazawa. It is the 8th largest lake by surface area in Japan and the 2nd largest of Japan's caldera lakes, surpassed only by Lake Kussharo. It is surrounded by three volcanoes: Mount Eniwa to the north and Mount Fuppushi and Mount Tarumae to the south. The caldera formed in the Holocene when the land between the volcanoes subsided.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1656-LakeShikotsu.jpg

Due to its depth, the volume of Lake Shikotsu reaches 3/4 of the volume of Lake Biwa, Japan's largest lake, despite of having only 1/9 of that lake's surface area. Plus the small surface area to depth ratio, the water temperature remains quite constant throughout the year, making it the northernmost ice-free lake in Japan. The Bifue, Okotanpe, Ninaru and Furenai rivers feed into it, and its main outlet is the Chitose River.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1657-LakeShikotsu.jpg

The Shikotsuko Tourist Boat was started in 1961 and until a few years ago was the only pleasure boat to cruise in this water. There are a total of two boats in operation, the Emerald and the Sapphire with each vessel able to accommodate up 50 people. Nowadays you can also paddle a swan boat, take a speed boat cruise or rent the “Amenbo” (Water Strider) because they resemble water strider insects which skim across the water’s surface.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1658-LakeShikotsu.jpg

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1659-LakeShikotsu.jpg

Information source for Lake Shikotsu.

This post has been edited by Kingfisher: 19 April 2015 - 09:33 PM

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#43 User is offline   Kingfisher 

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Posted 20 November 2014 - 04:20 PM

Boarding time – With the ticket in hand, we proceeded down the pier as I stole a shot at the clear water along the pebbles covered coast. I was kind of disappointed there wasn’t a single fish in sight which our tour guide attributed to them being eaten by the seagulls. But there weren’t any seagulls in sight! Although we were each issued a ticket, the crews did not even require us to present it during boarding time. Our boat was christened Emerald (エメラルド).

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1660-LakeShikotsuBoatCruise.jpg

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1661-LakeShikotsu.jpg

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1662-LakeShikotsuBoatCruise.jpg

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1663-LakeShikotsuBoatCruise.jpg

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1664-LakeShikotsuBoatCruise.jpg
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#44 User is offline   Kingfisher 

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Posted 20 November 2014 - 10:10 PM

Aboard the sightseeing boat, I noticed Mr Ho separating from the group as he descended below the deck to the Underwater Viewing Gallery. I followed suit, not having high hope of seeing any fishes at the bottom of the lake since all the reviews I came across just show water devoid of any living thing.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1665-LakeShikotsuBoatCruise.jpg

So I was genuinely surprised to see the water teeming with Fishes. I shouted to the other tour members and soon the narrow viewing gallery was packed, everyone trying to grab a good spot in front of the window. The 16 windows each about 70cm square were positioned about 2m underwater.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1666-LakeShikotsuBoatCruise.jpg

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1667-LakeShikotsuBoatCruise.jpg

The Fishes are of uniform sizes averaging about 20cm in length. Some of us placed our fingertips on the glass and draws it across the panel; the school of fishes followed it around. So cute. To my untrained eyes, the fishes look like they are of a single species, most probably one of the four species listed below.

  • アメマス (Salvelinus leucomaenis) is a Japanese Trout also known as White-spotted Char.
  • エゾウグイ (Tribolodon sachalinensis) is Sakhalin Redfin.
  • ヒメマス(チップ) (Oncorhynchus nerka) - The Kokanee refers to those of landlocked type of sockeye salmon that inhabit the lake.
  • ニジマス (Oncorhynchus mykiss) is Rainbow Trout.


http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1668-LakeShikotsuBoatCruise.jpg

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1669-LakeShikotsuBoatCruise.jpg

This post has been edited by Kingfisher: 03 December 2014 - 02:12 PM

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#45 User is offline   Kingfisher 

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Posted 21 November 2014 - 08:05 AM

The Middle Deck was empty saved for a lady; maybe she wasn’t interested in the fishes. As the boat set sail, leaving the school of fishes behind, people started emerging from below. The sky was bright and sunny, not a single cloud to be seen. Although the sun does not feel hot, in fact the UV ray is strong and might cause sunburn if exposed to it too much.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1670-LakeShikotsuBoatCruise.jpg

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1671-LakeShikotsuBoatCruise.jpg

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1672-LakeShikotsuBoatCruise.jpg

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1673-LakeShikotsuBoatCruise.jpg
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#46 User is offline   Kingfisher 

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Posted 21 November 2014 - 11:00 AM

The boat's engines churned along, leaving white trails behind. The fishes had dispersed, so did the people at viewing gallery as they now crowd at the Sheltered Sitting Area. Our boat also had a little upper deck which we took turns going up as it could only accommodates about six persons at a time.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1674-LakeShikotsuBoatCruise.jpg

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1675-LakeShikotsuBoatCruise.jpg

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1676-LakeShikotsuBoatCruise.jpg

Other than the cool breeze and the shimmering turquoise water, the slopes of the mountains were awash with colours in various shades of green, yellow, orange and red though not as vivid as I had hoped for. Here is a clearer view of Mount Monbetsu (紋別岳), at the higher elevation; trees had already shed the leaves.


http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1677-LakeShikotsuBoatCruise.jpg

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1678-LakeShikotsuBoatCruise.jpg

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1679-LakeShikotsuBoatCruise.jpg
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#47 User is offline   Kingfisher 

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Posted 21 November 2014 - 04:50 PM

We sailed pass a lone Fisherman submerged up to the thigh fly fishing. Maybe she (we can’t be sure as the sunlight was too harsh to make out the features) was trying to hook one of those 93.5 cm long and 13.5 kg trout swimming in the lake or perhaps the mysterious giant trout said to inhabit in the deeper parts of the lake.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1680-Fisherman.jpg

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1681-Fisherman.jpg

Quote

Giant Trout of Hokkaido

Fishermen have long reported seeing what they describe as giant trout estimated to be around 2m or more in length out in the deep water areas of the lake. One boat full of fishermen were astounded when they saw a whole school of the enormous fish near the surface, ranging from 1.5m to 3m in length.

Another fisherman claimed to have caught and reeled in a trout he described as a whopping 3.5m in length. When the fish was pulled near the boat, the fisherman and his cohorts were totally blown away by the sheer size of the catch. It was unlike anything they had ever seen in all of their years fishing on the lake. As the fishermen stared in disbelief, the giant fish broke the line and darted off into the depths.

Source


In the below picture, Mount Tarumae (樽前山) is on the left and Mount Fuppushi (風不死岳) on the right at 1103m. The next picture shows the smoking lava dome of Mount Tarumae (樽前山) standing at 1041m. The high crater temperature and toxic gas made going into Tarumae’s lava dome dangerous.


http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1682-Volcanos.jpg

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1683-MountTarumae.jpg

This post has been edited by Kingfisher: 03 December 2014 - 02:14 PM

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#48 User is offline   Kingfisher 

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Posted 22 November 2014 - 01:25 PM

The boat made no attempt to go further out in the lake and instead made an U-turn right where we saw the fisherman to return to base. A lone swan boat paddling in the calm water as another boat (Sapphire) cruised by, ferrying a group of tourists out to the lake. The red bridge you see across the Chitose River is the Former Yamasen Railway Bridge (山線鉄橋).

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1684-LakeShikotsuBoatCruise.jpg

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1685-SwanBoat.jpg

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1686-LakeShikotsuBoatCruise.jpg

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1687-LakeShikotsuBoatCruise.jpg
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#49 User is offline   Kingfisher 

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Posted 22 November 2014 - 03:40 PM

As the boat initiated its Docking Process at the pier, one can see the many shadows of the fishes taking shelter under floating structure. Back on dry land, I retraced my steps back to the stall selling BBQ foods.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1688-LakeShikotsuBoatCruise.jpg

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1689-LakeShikotsuBoatCruise.jpg

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1690-LakeShikotsuBoatCruise.jpg

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1691-LakeShikotsu.jpg
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#50 User is offline   Kingfisher 

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Posted 22 November 2014 - 06:25 PM

Although eager to get to the BBQ stall, I did manage to grab a few shots of the Surrounding Landscapes and of course the fiery trees all decked in their brightest colours. Hmmm, the back of a building, wondered what it housed inside? But satisfying my craving for food comes first so I will get back to it later.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1692-LakeShikotsu.jpg

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1693-LakeShikotsu.jpg

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1694-LakeShikotsu.jpg

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1695-ShikotsukoVisitorCenter.jpg
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#51 User is offline   lazearus 

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Posted 22 November 2014 - 06:42 PM

HAHA I'm waiting to see all the BBQ food!
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#52 User is offline   Kingfisher 

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Posted 22 November 2014 - 09:10 PM

On closer inspection, the BBQ stall of Kanko Miyage (観光みやげ) offered quite a few selections on their menu from grilled seafood, corns, sausages to deep fried stuffs like potato balls and potato curls. One melon and vanilla ice cream cone (¥250 after the ¥50 discount) and a skewer of grilled boneless chicken drumstick (¥400), please.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1696-BBQStall.jpg

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1697-BBQStall.jpg

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1698-BBQStall.jpg

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1699-BBQStall.jpg

This post has been edited by Kingfisher: 16 November 2015 - 09:11 AM

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#53 User is offline   Kingfisher 

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Posted 22 November 2014 - 09:25 PM

The ice cream cone in a hand and drumstick in the next, I searched for a place to sit and let my camera “eat” first (take photo). There were wooden benches and tables but the shaded seats were all taken. Melon and Vanilla Ice Cream Cone was silky smooth and milky with a touch of melon flavour since I opted for the mixed flavours. While the Grilled Boneless Chicken Drumstick was tender and juicy, the only condiments came from the salt and pepper sprinkled on top; the meat itself lacked any marinate and the taste boring. I should have gotten the grilled whole squid or even the sweet corn instead.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1700-BBQStall.jpg

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1701-BBQStall.jpg

Aki-san was curious why I was standing out under the sun and not go into the Dining Hall next door to eat. Because honestly, I no idea the next door unit was also part of the establishment. No fancy decorations in here, just tables and chairs to eat your foods.


http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1702-BBQStall.jpg

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1703-BBQStall.jpg
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#54 User is offline   Kingfisher 

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Posted 23 November 2014 - 09:15 PM

Here is a professionally done Map of Shikotsu Kohan with introduction to the various areas of interest within the vicinity.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1709-MapofLakeShikotsu.jpg

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1710-LakeShikotsuDirectory.jpg

Beside the lake and its related water activities, there was nothing of particular interest to explore so I ventured into the Shikotsuko Visitor Center (支笏湖ビジターセンター) to check out the nature history of the Shikotsu-Toya National Park (支笏洞爺国立公園). The materials for the building came from the natural resources found in this region. In additions, geothermal energy is also harnessed to power the lightings and to provide heat during cold seasons. Incidentally the tourist information counter also doubled as a small scale souvenir shop.

Shikotsuko Visitor Center (支笏湖ビジターセンター)
Shikotsuko Onsen
Chitose 066-0281
Tel: 0123-25-2404


http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1711-ShikotsukoVisitorCenter.jpg

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1712-ShikotsukoVisitorCenter.jpg

This post has been edited by Kingfisher: 25 April 2015 - 08:31 PM

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#55 User is offline   Kingfisher 

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Posted 23 November 2014 - 10:20 PM

Incidentally the tourist information counter also doubled as a small scale Souvenir Shop. A map of the Shikotsu-Toya National Park can be seen hanging from the wall as well.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1713-ShikotsukoVisitorCenter.jpg

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1714-ShikotsukoVisitorCenter.jpg

A tank on display showcasing the types of fish you can find in Lake Shikotsu, in case one did not manage to spot any in the lake. We learnt that this tank contains the Kokanee, a type of landlocked sockeye salmon that lives their entire life in freshwater. This fish was introduced into the lake in 1894 from Lake Akan in eastern Hokkaido. Kokanee’s are artificially incubated in hatcheries before the young fish are released into the lake. The fish in this tank are also raised in hatchery.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1715-ShikotsukoVisitorCenter.jpg

In Lake Shikotsu, Kokanee fishing is regulated, permitted only in certain areas of the lake. Regulations are lifted during certain times of the day in the months of June to August; however, in order to maintain the population, fishing regulations aren’t lifted in some years. We were very lucky to have come at the right time as during the spawning season (September to October); both males and females developed a red mating colour.


http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1716-ShikotsukoVisitorCenter.jpg
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#56 User is offline   Kingfisher 

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Posted 24 November 2014 - 08:00 AM

These Wooden Pillars were strategically positioned to lead the visitors to the various sections of exhibits showcasing the volcanic mountains, flora and fauna around the region of Shikotsu-Toya National Park. From the information imprinted on the pillars, we now know that Mount Fuppushi (風不死岳) was formed about 20,000 years ago while the 1,320m tall Mount Eniwa (恵庭岳) rose up from the land around the region of 13,000 years ago.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1717-ShikotsukoVisitorCenter.jpg

At the heart of the pillars was a Frosted Glass Model depicting the Shikotsu caldera that began around 40,000 years ago, forming the lake followed by Mount Fuppushi, Mount Eniwa and Mount Tarumae, the three volcanos surrounding it.


http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1718-ShikotsukoVisitorCenter.jpg

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1719-ShikotsukoVisitorCenter.jpg
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#57 User is offline   Kingfisher 

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Posted 24 November 2014 - 09:55 AM

The diverse forest that surrounds these mountains and lakes is home to a wide variety of Wildlife. This exhibit area featured a simulated forest area with tall trees and leaves canopy along with the undergrowth. On display were various mounted animals like bear, red fox and other creatures that inhabit the surrounding Shikotsu ecology.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1720-ShikotsukoVisitorCenter.jpg

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1721-ShikotsukoVisitorCenter.jpg

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1722-ShikotsukoVisitorCenter.jpg

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1723-ShikotsukoVisitorCenter.jpg

Perching on numerous poles were Native Birds like woodpecker, kingfisher, dove etc… Pressing the button at the bottom of each pole, will play a pre-recorded sound the corresponding bird made.


http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1724-ShikotsukoVisitorCenter.jpg
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#58 User is offline   Kingfisher 

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Posted 24 November 2014 - 06:40 PM

The next section was all Volcanic Related Information like how the lava dome was formed, the types of rocks and debris thrown up during the volcanic activities. We also learned about how the volcanic activities affected the vegetation. Mount Tarumae created about 9,000 years ago, remains active till today. It would require several thousand years of inactivity for the soil to stabilize to allow vegetation to grow.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1725-ShikotsukoVisitorCenter.jpg

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1726-ShikotsukoVisitorCenter.jpg

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1727-ShikotsukoVisitorCenter.jpg

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1728-ShikotsukoVisitorCenter.jpg
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#59 User is offline   Kingfisher 

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Posted 25 November 2014 - 07:29 AM

Out from the inhabitable volcano region into the Open Exhibit, there was an eagle flying high up in the ceiling and a hawk perched on top of the information panel. There was even a bear (skin rug) basking on the bench. I wondered if we can rest our tired butts on it or not since there wasn’t any sign to indicate no sitting.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1729-ShikotsukoVisitorCenter.jpg

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1730-ShikotsukoVisitorCenter.jpg

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1731-ShikotsukoVisitorCenter.jpg

Remembered the back of the building, I walked by going to the BBQ stall? If you peeked in from outside, you’ll be looking at the sun streamed Reading Corner. This area is all done up in wood style, even the stools are made of blocks of tree trunk.


http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1732-ShikotsukoVisitorCenter.jpg
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#60 User is offline   Kingfisher 

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Posted 25 November 2014 - 08:05 AM

Back out at the entrance area, I came face to face with a trio of bears. The Weather Update on the wall said it was 16.4°C outside and the sky sunny. Beside it, a pictorial chart on how to identify the various autumn leaves in the park. My colleague asked me to bring her a couple of the leaves but frankly speaking, those fallen leaves don’t look good in appearance and dotted with black spots.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1733-ShikotsukoVisitorCenter.jpg

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1734-ShikotsukoVisitorCenter.jpg

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1613/1735-ShikotsukoVisitorCenter.jpg
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